2017: The Prog critics' choice

prog albums collage

Another year, another nigh on impossible task of whittling down all the great progressively minded releases into some kind of meaningful list. Somehow, the writers of Prog have managed to cull lengthy lists into the required 20, from which we create the overall Top 20.

It goes without saying that 2017 was another year of incredible quality…

20) Soen - Lykaia (UDR)

We said: “Their forte is strong melodies, atmospheric soundscapes and sonic Sturm Und Drang.” - Johnny Sharp, Prog 75

19) KOYO - Koyo (88 Watt)

We said: “Born of live improvisations, the band edit for the studio yet retain the sonic spectacle.” - Ian Fortnam, Prog 80

18) Bent Knee - Land Animal (InsideOut)

We said: “As an art rock record at the poppier end of the spectrum, it’s atmospheric and cinematic with hooks aplenty.” - Alex Lynham, Prog 78

17) Mogwai - Every Country’s Sun (Rock Action)

We said: “Mogwai approach their variations on a number of themes with conviction.” - Mike Barnes, Prog 79

16) Paul Draper - Spooky Action (KSCOPE)

We said: “While this album is peppered with peculiar sounds, it is anything but inaccessible.” - Johnny Sharp, Prog 79

15) Ulver - The Assassination Of Julius Caesar (House Of Mythology)

We said: “The debt to the sleek and sleazy sheen of 80s electro pop is clear.” - Briony Edwards, Prog 76

14) Arcane Roots - Melancholia Hymns (Easy Life)

We said: “They have an uncanny ability to straddle prog, alternative rock and tech metal.” - Dom Lawson, Prog 80

13) Von Hertzen Brothers - War Is Over (Music Theories/Mascot)

We said: “War Is Over continues a rich seam of work from the VHB.” - Philip Wilding, Prog 82

12) Enslaved - E (Nuclear Blast)

We said: “It’s impressive to hear how far Enslaved have travelled from their black metal origins.” - David West, Prog 80

11) Amplifier - Trippin With Dr Faustus (Rockosmos)

We said: “An immersive experience and quite possibly their finest album to date.” - Joe Banks, Prog 78

10) Motorpsycho - The Tower (Rune Grammofon)

We said: “An expansive but consistently excellent double album, and nothing less than a creative rebirth.” - Joe Banks, Prog 80

9) Leprous - Malina (InsideOut)

We said: “There’s a playfulness about this record that, at its best, is nothing short of infectious.” - Alex Lynham, Prog 79

8) Steve Hackett - The Night Siren (InsideOut)

We said: “Hackett’s evident ease at flitting between styles, textures and sound is still a welcome surprise.” - Philip Wilding, Prog 74

7) Big Big Train - Grimspound (English Electric)

We said: “The album reaches peak prog on A Mead Hall In Winter; 15 minutes of sublime twists, turns and textural sleight of hand.” - Dom Lawson, Prog 76

6) Mastodon - Emperor Of Sand (Reprise)

We said: “Like a band who have flipped a coin and watched as it landed on its edge, this is the work of both Mastodons, New and Old.” - Dave Everley, Prog 75

5) Peter Hammill - From The Trees (Fie!)

**We said: **“This is a finely crafted masterpiece that grapples fearlessly with the varied psychological aspects of old age.” - Sid Smith, Prog 81

4) Roger Waters - Is This The Life We Really Want? (Columbia)

We said: “If you embrace him as an irascible genius, then this is the album you really want.” - Grant Moon, Prog 77

3) Public Service Broadcasting - Every Valley (PIAS)

We said: “PSB’s latest epic, technicolour testament to the human spirit and heroic endeavour.” - Paul Lester, Prog 78

2) Anathema - The Optimist (KSCOPE)

We said: “The album of their career thus far. A delightfully conceived, emotional yet uplifting masterpiece.” - Jerry Ewing, Prog 77

1) Steven Wilson - To The Bone (Caroline International)

He said: “Even when I make a big flirty tart of a record, you guys still vote it top of the progs, haha! That’s amazing, thank you so much!”

We said: “What could have been a self-conscious paean to the wide-eyed 80s sounds more like a fervent and meticulous tribute to the very notion of the song itself.” - Dom Lawson, Prog 79

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